Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: The influence of climatic variability on morphological integration, evolutionary rates, and disparity in the Carnivora

Citation

Conith, Andrew John; Meagher, Molly A; Dumont, Elizabeth R (2018), Data from: The influence of climatic variability on morphological integration, evolutionary rates, and disparity in the Carnivora, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1726j

Abstract

Biodiversity is unevenly distributed in space and time. One possible explanation is the influence of climate on the ecology, evolution, and morphology of taxa. Here we investigated the link between climatic variability and phenotypic integration, rates of morphological evolution, and disparity (morphological diversity) in three carnivoran clades (Canidae, Felidae, Mustelidae). We gathered landmark data from the lower jaw and extracted current temperature and precipitation data from range maps. We found a significant negative relationship between climatic variability and integration for canids and felids. Among canids variability in temperature was the key climatic variable, while in felids it was a combination of variability in temperature and precipitation. In both cases, relatively variable climates were associated with low phenotypic integration. We also found evidence for a negative association between climatic variability and both disparity and rates of morphological evolution in canids and mustelids. Selection can drive the evolution of jaw shape along lines of least resistance defined by patterns of integration, and this study suggests that climate may be a predictor of phenotypic integration. As a result, taxa in more variable regions (e.g., temperate, montane) may be more evolvable and more able to respond to fluctuating environmental conditions over a period of generations.

Usage Notes

Funding

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1501385